Tag Archives: wendy chamberlain mp

Wendy Chamberlain MP: Tips for winning your selection campaign

When I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2015, immediately following the General Election, I was working in military resettlement, supporting service leavers into employment. If you had told me that within 5 years, I would be a Member of Parliament for the party, I would have laughed very loudly.

When I decided to enter the selection for North East Fife in 2018 (at that time the most marginal seat in the UK with only 2 votes separating the SNP from the Liberal Democrats) it was clear that I needed to take some of my own job-seeking advice on board.

If you are serious about becoming a PPC in a Liberal Democrat target seat, here are some top tips on how to approach the selection. I’m assuming here that you are already an approved candidate.

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Wendy Chamberlain MP becomes LDER President

Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform have a new President – Wendy Chamberlain, our MP for North East Fife.

Since entering Parliament in 2019, Wendy has made her mark as an articulate, vivid advocate of electoral reform. Through most of 2020, as our Political and Constitutional Reform front bench spokesperson, she led the campaign both inside and outside Parliament. Last June, she initiated an adjournment debate on the need for reform. In August, she urged party members to join a Make Votes Matter (MVM) nationwide ‘virtual’ Action Day, which saw hundreds of Liberal Democrats get involved.

A strong believer in linking reform to improving peoples’ everyday lives, also last June, Wendy spoke alongside Klina Jordan of MVM at a Green Liberal Democrats’ conference session on Electoral Reform and the Environment. In September, she led LDER’s virtual fringe meeting, along with the Electoral Reform Society, Make Votes Matter and Unite to Reform.

Our Parliamentary Chief Whip and Work and Pensions spokesperson, Wendy, has maintained her commitment to electoral reform. In February, she became a Vice-Chair of the newly-formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Electoral Reform. (Alistair Carmichael, Wera Hobhouse and Lord Paul Tyler are also APPG members). Wendy is also a member of the APPG on Deliberative Democracy.

Wendy said:

In an era of increasing identity politics, the place has increasing importance to many. With Covid-19, however, the straining of centralised decision making at Westminster, and better recognition of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, could mean electoral reform’s time has come. It’s increasingly clear that the fundamental change required to ensure the future of the UK and a representative democracy starts with electoral reform.

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Wera Hobhouse, Wendy Chamberlain and Christine Jardine on Black History Month

This week, Wera Hobhouse, as Lib Dem Equalities spokesperson, too part in the Black History Month debate in the House of Commons. Watch her speech here:

Christine Jardine also made an intervention, talking about the history of the streets in Glasgow.

On that very point, we have talked before about how in so many communities in this country there are statues, streets and so on that are named after slave owners and colonialists. People like me who come from Glasgow are immensely proud that Nelson Mandela Place is named after Nelson Mandela, but we are completely unaware of the history of the names of the other streets around it. That is the sort of thing we need to attack when we look at education and black history.

Wendy Chamberlain also highlighted the unpleasant history of the streets where she grew up.

The full text of Wera’s and Wendy’s speeches is below.

The debate had one particularly remarkable part where Conservative MP Bim Afolami was basically saying that he had not experienced any problems. Labour MP Tulip Siddiq pointed out that he’d gone to Eton, before acknowledging and recognising her own privileged middle class background. She highlighted the importance of taking an intersectional approach.

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Wendy Chamberlain at Pride: Let’s go high, stand for our values and build bridges.

Mary wrote yesterday about her lifetime as an LGBT ally. 

She mentioned the virtual Prides that were taking place at the moment.

I went to the Scottish Lib Dems virtual Pride event last Sunday, which was run by LGBT+ Lib Dems and Scottish Lib Dem Women. It was a marathon, but well worth every second.

The day started with a rally with speeches by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP and Wendy Chamberlain MP. It ended almost 12 hours later with a Eurovision watch along of the 2014 event, won by Conchita Wurst. I had forgotten so many of the delights of that night. Watch here if you need cheering up. In between there were a couple of panels – on queering our policy and on being a better ally. The penultimate event was a quiz won by Wales’ Callum Littlemore who seems to have a brain full of obscure song lyrics and who got almost full marks in the Gay or Eurovision round.

Alex spoke off the cuff like he always does but was as passionate as you would expect from him about how we as a party should not shy away from speaking up for LGBT people.

Wendy had her remarks written down and I’m delighted that she has shared them with us.

I’m privileged to be asked to address today’s rally
But, as I mentioned in my maiden speech, I may be the first female MP for North East Fife, I’m well aware of my privilege in other areas – my class, my ethnicity, my sexuality, my gender identity.

My life experience to date, also, if we are looking to make generalisations, perhaps, on the surface, doesn’t suggest that I’d be a natural ally. Having been a police officer for 12 years brings its own assumptions I suppose, particularly of late.

But, other than friends at university – no one at school was out – from colleagues in Tesco (Grant and I bonded over Eurovision and mourned Michael Ball’s 2nd place) and friends in the Edinburgh University Footlights (I had a couple of dates with a guy who told me that the last person he had seen was a 36 year old man – I was fine with that, but I did meet his parents a couple of times as his ‘friend’ as he was clearly struggling to be honest with his Dad (I’m pleased to report he’s now happily married to a man and still working in the theatre), the police was the first workplace where I had a number of colleagues who were gay.

The first trans women I knew was through the police – Jan, a traffic warden. She had transitioned later in life, her marriage had broken down and she had been ostricised by her family and children as a result.

I know that Jan experienced direct discrimination from some colleagues at work, but I also saw the service trying its best to support Jan, and provide the facilities that she required.

A friend met her on the bus last year – she still has no contact with her family, and in the main keeps to herself – her bus trip was an exception and not the norm.

Not long after returning to work after maternity leave, I attended 3 days of diversity training, as did all police officers in the UK, as part of the police response to the Lawrence report, where the police’s institutional racism was called out.

I was pleased that the training was not restricted to racism, but covered all of the diversity strands.

I’ll be honest, the last day, was the toughest – the majority audience of white heterosexual men, really struggling with their prejudices in relation to the trans activists delivering that part of the training.

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Wendy Chamberlain MP: Census must reflect diversity to make sure all people count

This week, Parliament debated the Census which will take place next year. Wendy Chamberlain highlighted the need to ask the right questions to make sure that all people are taken into consideration when planning future public services. She also talked about the need for everyone to be able to take part. As the census moves online, how will people who don’t have access to computers take part?

She also took the opportunity to challenge Liz Truss’s remarks on health care for transgender people, saying how important it is for members of the government to watch that their language does not exclude people.

Watch her speech here. The text is below.

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Wendy Chamberlain: I used to be a Police Officer, now I worry about them being given more power

I, like virtually everyone else in this country, am taking this lockdown business very seriously. In fact, I think my anxiety about  Coronavirus is going to skyrocket in that intervening period between the most restrictive measures ending and the advent of a cure or vaccine. My husband is not quite as high risk as you can get, but he’s well on the way and when I read the small print, I’m high risk for complications from Covid-19 too. So I’m actually quite happy being at home at the moment. I realise that I am very lucky to be able to spend that time with people and dogs that I love, and to have a garden that I can sit out in. I am very aware that some people are on their own, or trapped with abusive partners, or are stuck in a flat.

It’s really strange to say that I haven’t been to a shop in a month. No more just nipping up to the Co-op to get rice when you realise you haven’t got any and the curry has been bubbling away in the oven for hours. It is really strange to think how well we have adapted to what are colossal infringements on our freedoms. News reports from intensive care units are more effective than any law enforcement approach.

But I do feel slightly uneasy whenever I see police vans heading into the park across the road from our house. Whenever I have been there, virtually everyone is keeping their distance. Ok, so there is the very occasional strange looking household walking together but the rules are pretty much enforcing themselves. And if I saw someone sitting on a bench, I’d think that they needed a rest. Not everyone can walk uninterrupted for an hour or so.

Even if they were very polite about it, I would still bristle a bit if a Police Officer were to ask me what I was doing in the park when the answer, given that I am usually accompanied by my dog, would be obvious. I think that is an ok way for a liberal to feel. We should always be aware of who holds power over us and assess whether they are using it appropriately. And if they aren’t, then they need to be challenged through the relevant complaints procedures.

Police suggesting they might be having a nosey through people’s shopping trolleys to look for “non-essential” stuff, even if their bosses backtrack later, or telling a family they can’t play in their front garden., are clear examples of when their approach goes too far.

This week, Lib Dem MP and former Police Officer Wendy Chamberlain wrote in the Metro about how she was worried about how they exercised their new powers.

What should they be doing?

Just as the air raid wardens kept communities safe during the Second World War by making sure people observed the blackouts, now we rely on police officers to keep us safe from coronavirus by making sure we observe the lockdown. Like everyone on the frontline of this crisis, our police are doing a very difficult job in extremely difficult circumstances. They not only have to enforce the new emergency laws, but also tackle other types of crime.

But we must be very careful to ensure that these powers are not used in a discriminatory way:

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